Sports

Hawks, Sugar Jets, Rockets Soar in Hoops

Emily Carver launches a three-point, extra long- range Jet missile, in Enka’s win at North Henderson Friday.

Western North Carolina

Enka Sugar Jets and Asheville lead girls hoops in the WMAC with North Buncombe closer, while N.B. is now tied for first among boys’ teams.

Enka Sugar Jets soared, while North Buncombe and A.C. Reynolds boys notched huge wins in basketball last week to forge a three-way tie atop the Western Mountain Athletic Conference.

T.C. Roberson, Reynolds and North Buncombe boys are each 9-3 heading into this week which wraps up the regular season.

North Buncombe is red hot on the hardcourt, in both boys and girls contests lately. Coach Chuck Robinson’s Hawks prevailed 60-56 at Erwin (2-10) on Feb. 9.

They then won by 16 (79-63) at Tuscola (5-7) last Friday — for their seventh triumph in a row, and to tie for first. Post standout Bryce Payne scored 10 in the back when going to Enka today/Thursday, Feb. 18.

Enka won their first clash, 77-73 at AHS on Jan. 19. This was a drastic and dramatic comeback. AHS led by 17 points in the first period. Enka cut the lead to two, but AHS reopened it to ten points at halftime and led by nine heading into the decisive final period. Enka doubled up Asheville 26-13 in the fourth period, to win by four.

That ferocious comeback defined Enka’s season. “We battled back,” Enka head coach Kyle Reagan said. “They’re athletic. But once we limited their transition and handled their pressure enough, we settled into our offense — and we made our shots.”

Defending WMAC champ Enka is enjoying a “Reagan Revolution” in girls’ basketball, behind the coach’s guidance and several stars. Senior guard Carver, who is “App State”-bound, brought a 27-point average into Friday’s game. Bentlee Chockley (19 ppg.) and Hadleigh Dill (15 ppg.) are steady contributors. “It’s good to see others get points,” Carver said.

Carver scored more than half — 48 of 81 — of Sugar Jets points, in an 81-34 shellacking of Tuscola on Jan. 29. She poured in 38 at Asheville. Defeating perennial power Asheville was “huge,” and sweeping AHS looms as a rewarding challenge, Carver said.

Taylor Smith (30), the top Sugar Jets scorer Friday, lays in a basket. NHHS defenders are Lexie Gunter (12) and Sheree Guererro (20). Smith scored 24. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Taylor Smith (30), the top Sugar Jets scorer Friday, lays in a basket. NHHS defenders are Lexie Gunter (12) and Sheree Guererro (20). Smith scored 24.

Chockley, a stocky 5-8 inside force, scored 23 or more points four times — starting with 27, in a 19-point win over TCR in the opener on Jan. 9.

Dill, an athletic 5-11 sophomore, is adept as a ballhandler and inside-outside scorer. Dill exploded for 26 points, in a 59-50 win at Roberson on Feb. 4.

Roberson (6-6) was led by six-foot sophomore Tymber Thompson with 15 points. The Lady Rams won 50-41 at ACR Thursday, as Lauren Snedecor scored 15. Hailey Sprinkle led ACR with 19 — sinking four early three-pointers.

Another Sugar Jet emerged this past Friday. Outside gunner Taylor Smith led with 24 points, in a 74-32 win at North Henderson (5-7). Chockley added 18 points. Enka led by 31 at halftime. Next, Enka was at Erwin (5-6) Tuesday.

The Lady Knights beat winless West Henderson 56-47 on Feb. 11 as sophomore guard Lexie Gunter notched 29 points, six steals and eight rebounds. Gunter scored 18 in a ten-point win over Reynolds on Jan. 21. “Lexie knocked down some big shots at key moments,” head coach Zach Wilkins said.

Freshman Lady Knight guard Taniyah Cash was superb “attacking the basket,” Wilkins said. Cash was “money” as she tallied 23 points, six assists and eight rebounds versus ACR. Scrappy senior forward Tabitha Young snatched 11 rebounds. Big Linnea Harris had 13 rebounds and 13 points against Enka.

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